Media is Dead.

Changes in media – whether time-shifting, mobile, social and more – create opportunities and challenges. Understanding and staying ahead of the challenges and recognizing and taking advantage of the opportunities has to be a priority for marketers. We’ll leave it to others to address what might be next or how this or that innovation will change everything. At [x+1] we think it’s important to take a step back and ask a larger question: does media still matter?

Obviously at one level – as a means for reaching the right audiences with relevant messages – the answer is “yes.” But if you’re still thinking of media as an array of discreet channels that need to be individually planned for, bought, optimized and managed, the answer needs to be a loud and emphatic “no.”

Thinking from a media-centric perspective makes no sense at all. The secret is to think and plan and buy and optimize and manage with your audience in mind. It’s the audience you want to be thinking about and frankly, you shouldn’t really care what media channels are involved – at least not consciously. As long you know are able to recognize your audience, reach them with relevant messages, remember what they’ve seen and heard from you before and provide them with a rewarding experience you will be successful.

The challenge with the media-centric view of the world is that it is woefully out of date. It reflects a time when channels couldn’t be managed in a centralized way and a time when little was known about audiences or the individuals within them. Think about TV. It’s still a blunt instrument that isn’t well suited to sophisticated, audience-centric thinking. It certainly has reach – and importantly emotion – but how can one be sure the messages it delivers are going to be relevant to the audience? How can one be sure you’re not overwhelming the audience with redundant and irrelevant messages?

Certainly as television has become less monolithic it provides better audience targeting opportunities; but why should marketers be forced to look TV (or any media channel) in a vacuum? Because, until recently, there was no alternative.

Now, not only are there better alternatives, there are also greater expectations on the part of customers and prospects. As the media landscape has evolved, audiences have become more sophisticated. The only thing more frustrating than wasting an impression is being the recipient something that is mistargeted, irrelevant or out of date. Those things can be better controlled once you’ve moved beyond media thinking to an audience view of the world.

That’s the direction we need to be moving: toward a unified view of customers. Toward one platform able to reach them with relevant messages through whatever media channel they are using. A platform that knows what they have done and what they plan to do so they aren’t shown offers about the car they just bought or the vacation they just returned from.

We’ve become so sophisticated in the ways we’re able to use data to target really discreet groups of people; but then we have to try and shoehorn those groups into a whole range of media channels that use different models, different forms of measurement, different ways of reporting performance and
results, etc. It’s crazy.

Technology exists – including our own Origin enterprise DMP – that allows media to become almost an afterthought. As long as there’s a system in place to push messages out to audiences through what we call an omnichannel model, the details of channel become far less important than they are today. And for marketers and their audiences, that’s a very good thing.

Perianne Grignon, CMO, [x+1]

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1 comment about "Media is Dead.".
  1. Tom Cotton from Progatonist LLC , September 26, 2012 at 11:03 a.m.
    Spot-on, Perianne...we'd add that "channel strategy" is equally dead and oxymoronic. Behavioral consumer segmentation, and targeted messaging that moves those segments into action, is where the action is. And we now have the cross-platform tools and plumbing in place to instantly distribute, optimize and consolidate a brand's campaign. Trouble is, we often don't have the client, creative and media agency stomach for re-engineering "the last mile." When we do--and we've seen it and done it--the results are amazing. When we don't...well, back to your "crazy/shoehorn" analogy!